It’s Thanksgiving week, which means I’m compelled to reflect on the past year and consider the most wonderful events I’ve experienced. With some recent life changes, I’m reminded of the importance to stay true to yourself and focus on what makes you happiest. For me, that includes hiking a mountain, laughing and enjoying beers with friends, traveling to new (and old) favorite cities, and, of course, cooking up a storm. Below are a few photo representations of my most thankful 2014 moments:
See what white speck on the right side? Yup, it’s a mountain goat! Goat Rocks Wilderness, Gifford Pinchot National Park
Frozen waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge
Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier
Mt. Hood from Coyote Wall
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe
Great Blue Heron at Greenlake, Seattle, WA
Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County, CA
Chia seed fruit cobbler
On the way to Goat Lake
Sausage and Veggie pasta in creamy tomato vodka cream sauce
Tom, Dick and Harry
Hood to Coast
Goat Rocks Wilderness in Gifford Pinchot
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the past two months, you have seen a surge of ice water posts flooding your Facebook streams. In no small effort, the ALS Association has capitalized on a viral campaign where every day people and celebrities alike are dumping ice water all over themselves in order to build awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The neurodegenerative disease affects around 30,000 Americans, debilitating their motor skills while leaving their brains sharp. To date, there is no cure, and approximately 5,600 people are diagnosed each year.
My best friend and his husband nominated three people to keep this modern day chain letter going, so I had 24 hours to either dump a bucket of ice water on my head or donate to the ALS Association. I chose both.
You don’t have to wait for a nomination to join the campaign. Simply record a video of yourself challenging three people to the task, dump ice water on your head and post it to social media, or donate whatever you want to give to the cause. There are no rules saying you can’t do both.
Here’s my video if you’re needing a little humiliating encouragement:
Like any other crafty and food loving girl, I have a propensity for collecting empty wine bottles and, by extension, corks. (I promise it’s generally due to entertaining. Generally.) I’ve looking through Pinterest postings, found inspiration, been uninspired and ultimately started putting the used corks in a recycled jar, hoping that one day a craft project would come of them. Spring has a lovely way to motivate me to do things, like potting my new herb garden, so I picked up some soil, started planting my basil, rosemary, cilantro and lavender and then it hit me! I could use those leftover corks to label my seedlings! I have seen a version of this in this project, and while the original may look better, I’m enjoying my (super easy) version. Continue reading
A dear friend of mine started an initiative last year where she documented memories on paper and stored then in a mason jar, aka the Happiness Jar. Whenever she had a challenging day or needed a pick-me-up, she would open the jar and read some memories. I decided to do the same and used a Costco-sized artichoke jar for the effort. Some said that seemed like a really large jar, and filling it in a year might be a “optimistic”, but I’m happy to announce I did it in three months.
New objective: refill the jar every three months with new memories. Challenge accepted.
The time has come! I’ve been in love with the “chalkboard paint on things” concept for, well, ever, and I finally broke down and bought some at the grocery store over the weekend. I’m not a mom, but I’ve already found multiple applications for this handy paint, the first of which is for mason jar lunches, leftovers, and pantry items.
In December, I was adding very necessary pins to my “Excuse for a Dinner Party” board, and happened upon the most amazing project: the dinosaur serving plate. A good friend of mine loves dinosaurs. I mean, loves them. Loves them so much she and her husband used them as center pieces at their wedding, loves them. So when I saw this project, I had the perfect Christmas present aligned.
A cappella is hands down one of my all time favorite things. The culmination of harmonies conjures so much raw emotion, and often brings me to tears. Pentatonix is an incredible 5 person group that won Season 3 of The Sing-Off, and “Run to You” is their first original song. You may have heard or seen some of their other arrangements, including “Somebody I Used to Know“, Draft Punk Medley or “Radioactive” (with another personal favorite, Lindsey Stirling), but this display of talent really spoke to my choral background and the blending voices together to make something truly beautiful.